If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poems in Pockets

         Poem in Your Pocket Day comes just once a year and this year it comes at just the right time in the midst of state testing. This Thursday our school will celebrate poetry’s big day. Some students are choosing from poetry resources in the classroom, others are selecting pieces from their stash, and others are writing new poems just for the celebration. This is the chance to step back from the bubble sheets, put the intensity on the back burner, and…

Catch a breath of fresh air.
Spread some poetry love!
Serve up a smorgasbord of similes
A buffet of beautiful
A mound of metaphors
A pinch of this
A smidge of that
Whatever tips your hat
Or floats your boat
Spread some poetry love
Catch a breath of fresh air.

         Be sure to visit Poets.org website to find out how this day got started in New York City and how people across the country rejoice the power of poetry. It’s not too late to gather some favorite poems, slip them in your pocket, and put some smiles on faces when you share your selection.
         We read, write, collect, and love poetry all year long, but in April we bring it on with an extra dash of passion. Here is a sampling from a few fourth grade poets:

Just the other day
I was going out to play
Now I see the snow-
Spring's eternal foe

Just the other day
I felt the sunshine from May
Now I'm turning into ice
The weather isn't being nice

Just the other day
By Chelsea

How To Be a Dog
You run around all day,
You play,
You play,
You play!
You lay around in the grass,
And bark
When people pass.
You sleep all the time,
You make a crime.
And when it's time to go to bed,
You always want to get fed!
And that is how to be a dog!

By Jamie

In the universe there was a planet
                                                       In the planet there was a continent
                                                       On the continent was a country
                                                         On the country there was a state
                                                    On that state there was a town
                                                      On that town there was a school
                                                       In that school was a hall
                                                       In that hall was a classroom

                                                        Inside that classroom was a desk
                                                      On that desk there was a notebook
                                                      In that notebook was some words
                                                      In those words were some meaning
                                                     In that meaning was some dreaming
                                                     In that dreaming was a whole new world!

By Caleb

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Knee Deep in a Good Book

Gonna put the the world away for a minute
Pretend I don't live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away…
Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze and it don't seem fair
Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise there's a fire in the sky
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise
~ Zac Brown Band with Jimmy Buffett

      Since I am here in chili western New York, instead of knee deep in the water somewhere, I am perched like a lazy cat in a perfect little sunny spot in our family room.
I will pretend this is my beach chair.

Here's my reading stack,
a cup of steaming java,

and some stitching for in between books.

And Grace found her sunny spot!

      I can’t stop thinking about the book I finished yesterday. On the basis of several recent reviews, I could not wait to get my hands on Wonder by RJ Palacio.  A few pages in and I was hooked. I fell in love with August, an amazing ten-year-old boy who rises above the challenge and adversity he faces simply because he is judged by his appearance. August is in fifth grade and not only is he starting middle school, but he is also starting school for the first time ever.  I join the masses in saying as soon as you get the chance, read this wonderful first novel of RJ Palacio’s.  

A few of my favorite parts…

Mr. Browne, August’s English teacher starts the first class with a discussion of P-R-E-C-E-P-T-S. When no one can tell him what a precept is, he adds a definition to the board:
“A precept is anything that helps guide us when making decisions about really important things.” 
     His monthly precepts will guide students and help them “Know Thyself”, a message on a plaque posted on his door. September’s precept is “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
         At the end of this first class, August thinks…I suddenly realized that I was going to like school. No matter what.
         August has bumps in the road as do most students, but his bumps are often mountainous. August keeps climbing with the love and support of a strong family and true friends that he makes along the way. We do get by with a little help from our friends!
         At the end of the school year, Mr. Browne asks each of his students to craft their own precepts and mail them to him over the summer. Of course the teacher in me loves this idea and I love August’s precept most of all: Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world. In my world this book and author RJ Palacio deserve a standing ovation. Thank you for a great story!  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Celebrating March

    Slices are totaled. Slices are ordered. Tomorrow I will dine with twelve month-long slicers. This group of fourth grader writers is quite proud of their accomplishments. I am not only impressed with their month-long dedication, but also their on-going enthusiasm for writing. They are eager to take risks and try new ideas. Slicers wrote about many different topics:
·      Small moments
·      A favorite memory
·      Spring’s arrival!!
·      Playing outside
·      Reflections on events of the day
·      Responses to books
·      Playing an instrument
·      Joining band
·      Going to dinner
·      Favorite foods
·      Special friends
·      Beloved pets
·      Family
·      Quotes
·      Vacation
·      Traveling
      Slicers wrote in a variety of genres:
·      Lists
·      Articles
·      Fiction
·      List poems
·      Things to do poems
·      Free verse poems
·      Acrostics
·      Letters

     Tomorrow we will celebrate and share our March accomplishments  
with a pizza party. We have marched into a new challenge for April: “Poem-a-Day.” The excitement is growing to share some extra poetry-love this month. I am hoping to write several poems each week. However, a handful of students are off and running with three poems under their belt! I promise to post some student poems throughout the month. Their voices and passions shine brightly and are sure to move your heart and put a smile on your face.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Things to Do Poem

Things to Do if You Are a Writer

Jot down ideas
For ideas are everywhere.
Live with your eyes wide open.
Live with your ears wide open.
And most importantly live with an opened-wide heart.
Write often.
Try for a little bit everyday.
Read everything and read often!
Read like a writer.
Notice the small moments,
Taste them,
Smell them,
Feel them,
Hear them,
See them,
Savor moments big and small.
Write them down,
For you think you will always remember
And you will if you tuck them in your notebook.
Like a baby nestled in under a quilt
Your thoughts will be safe until morning.

Tonight I am posting a first draft poem inspired by Elaine Magliaro who blogs at Wild Rose Reader.  My students and I love reading and writing this type of poem. Watch for student poems coming soon. Happy Poetry Month!